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Oddball Cichlid
October 11, 2009
5:23 pm
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johnpeten
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I have about 20 juveniles that have been growing up together for about 3 weeks. 3 species each about 6 to 7 cms. Several are V. melanurus but there is an oddball which we thought was melanurus but is now showing different characteristics. It is a lot darker and the tail marks point downwards instead of towards the eye. The head is more pointed and has distinct "frown" marks. The eyes are proud of the head. Amongst the many reports of expeditions to Guatemala I remember reading about the downward pointing tail marks but cannot remember the source.
The V. melanurus are very tranquil and "kiss" each other now and again. This guy is a loner.
The photos show the regular melanurus and this guy with others as a comparison.

Unlike my other cichlids you will notice that he is not potty trained /angry.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":angry:" border="0" alt="angry.gif" />

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October 12, 2009
12:06 pm
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retro_gk
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Tough one. Unless a rogue salvini's been diddling the Vieja, I'm going with ex-Cichlasoma bocourti.

October 12, 2009
1:33 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (retro_gk @ Oct 12 2009, 05:49 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Tough one. Unless a rogue salvini's been diddling the Vieja, I'm going with ex-Cichlasoma bocourti.


http://www.cichlid-forum.com/a.....courti.php

I considered the "C" bocourti but reading the account in the above link the horizontal marks were not mentioned. I lived in the Rio Dulce /Lago Izabal for 6 months at about the same time that they were here so where they went and their experiences are very familiar to me.
I found the following photo on a German site which is a close match.
This cichlid is apparently quite rare but well documented in the database here. Some of the photos that I have seen could be suspect. However "C" bocourti appears to be the best bet at the moment. I hope that it will continue to thrive and we shall see how it's appearance changes.
PS The "diddling" did occur to me, but I am not sure if the generics make this possible.

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October 12, 2009
2:39 pm
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coelacanth
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I don't think bocourti, youngsters of those are distinctive. Although the stress/aggression pattern of melanurus can be quite barred (including the "frown marks"), as you say the head shape looks odd.
I would suggest perhaps a very unusual wild hybrid between melanurus and "something else", although it might simply be an atypical melanurus.
BTW, What were those particular fish being fed on prior to the picture being taken?

October 12, 2009
2:47 pm
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johnpeten
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Herichthys bocourti sports a yellowish green head with a reddish-orange body that fades to yellow on the caudal peduncle. The moniker, Golden Mojarra, is a bit of a misnomer that has stuck, based on the fact that early descriptions of "life" colors in this species were based on dead, preserved specimens in which the actual colors had faded. My specimens also exhibit light-blue highlights on the mouth and portions of the dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. The anal and dorsal fins have short, pointed fin extensions. Six or seven broken black vertical bars fade in and out (depending upon a fish's mood) over a black peppery ground color, which is seen when the fish is stressed or not in breeding condition. Occasionally a subdominant male sports a faint black patch under the chin. There is also a black blotch in the center of the base of the caudal fin.

The photo is of tank raised juveniles taken from an article by the breeder of the fish brought back from Lago Izabal.

http://www.cichlidae.com/artic.....php?id=177

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October 12, 2009
2:57 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (coelacanth @ Oct 12 2009, 08:22 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think bocourti, youngsters of those are distinctive. Although the stress/aggression pattern of melanurus can be quite barred (including the "frown marks"), as you say the head shape looks odd.
I would suggest perhaps a very unusual wild hybrid between melanurus and "something else",although it might simply be an atypical melanurus.
BTW, What were those particular fish being fed on prior to the picture being taken?


Yes your comments are all very valid. Although there are similarities with bocourti the latest photos of juveniles don't exactly match. I am now thinking this is a hybrid.

They are normally fed on flake but once a day they receive freeze dried bloodworm. This FD bloodworm is soft and rubbery and all the cichlids love it.

October 12, 2009
5:29 pm
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coelacanth
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Oct 12 2009, 03:40 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes your comments are all very valid. Although there are similarities with bocourti the latest photos of juveniles don't exactly match. I am now thinking this is a hybrid.

It is peculiar, because it is very melanurus-like apart from the aberrant pigmentation and the robust lower jaw.

QUOTE
They are normally fed on flake but once a day they receive freeze dried bloodworm. This FD bloodworm is soft and rubbery and all the cichlids love it.

I'd try to find a way of getting more vegetable matter into them. The faecal string on the oddball appears to have some incompletely-digested material in there, and that can sometimes contribute to a condition called "bloat" (appears to have multiple causes) which is frequently fatal.

October 12, 2009
11:07 pm
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johnpeten
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I'd try to find a way of getting more vegetable matter into them. The faecal string on the oddball appears to have some incompletely-digested material in there, and that can sometimes contribute to a condition called "bloat" (appears to have multiple causes) which is frequently fatal.
[/quote]

Oh dear! He is now sitting on top of a rock and playing "I am King of the Castle" he attacks any other fish that comes near. He is also not eating.
I have vegetable flake which I normally give to the Mollies and friends, Usually the cichlids spit ir out.

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October 13, 2009
9:43 am
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retro_gk
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You might want to try feeding some parboiled or baked vegetables. Cucumbers, courgettes, zucchini, squash, melons are all good things to try. They might like that more than flake.

October 13, 2009
1:26 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (retro_gk @ Oct 13 2009, 03:26 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
You might want to try feeding some parboiled or baked vegetables. Cucumbers, courgettes, zucchini, squash, melons are all good things to try. They might like that more than flake.


Thanks Retro I will try that.
At the moment the oddball looks like he has a tummy ache and is grazing on the rock that he is guarding, although he is more tranquil and sometimes goes and "moons" with a melanurus, very odd.
I sent my young fisherman to do some line fishing in the weeds. He came back with a score of youngsters including a catfish (not one of my favorites) some spectacular female "C". salvini jewels(this will probably land up in the genus Amphilophus) AND what looks like another Oddball. As soon as they settle I will get photos. Also several V. melanurus one of which I managed to snap.

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October 13, 2009
2:18 pm
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coelacanth
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Oct 12 2009, 11:50 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh dear! He is now sitting on top of a rock and playing "I am King of the Castle" he attacks any other fish that comes near. He is also not eating.
I have vegetable flake which I normally give to the Mollies and friends, Usually the cichlids spit ir out.

I'm now wondering if it might simply be a precocious female melanurus, showing breeding colour, although I still think the head shape (esp. the mouth) is a little abnormal.

October 14, 2009
4:34 pm
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johnpeten
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QUOTE (coelacanth @ Oct 13 2009, 08:01 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm now wondering if it might simply be a precocious female melanurus, showing breeding colour, although I still think the head shape (esp. the mouth) is a little abnormal.


Amongst the new arrivals the 6 V. melanurus all look the same in profile. One is larger than the others and has now started to darken. It is also throwing it's weight around, which I thought a little unusual for melanurus. A larger Mayan cichlid, however, puts it in it's place.
The photos are of this larger one.
I think that I have found the cause of the great disparity between photos of "adult V.melanurus" These fish are V.synspilus or hydrids thereof.
The habitat of V. synspilus is the large drainage area of the River Usumacinta which borders Mexico and Guatemala. This fish is common in the aquarium trade. The 3rd photo is of this cichlid.

As the Lake is teeming with V. melanurus in the weed beds and shallows, there has to be breeding adults around. However nobody that I have encountered has seen them. My next task is to interview a couple of ancients that use their dugouts (canoas) to fish the deep parts of the Lake.

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October 16, 2009
5:41 am
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johnpeten
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I have been chasing V. melanurus on Youtube. As usual the fish were wrongly named. One guy even had wild ones(source unknown) but of course they were V.synspilus.
My next task is to find and interrogate the old fisherman that sometimes takes his dugout out into the middle of the lake fishing for table size fish. With luck I might even acquire a live adult with a suitable large bribe of about £3.
In the meantime I have posted a video of one of my larger guys showing some colour.

As expected the original oddball died. The diagnosis from our eminent ichthyological veterinarian was obviously correct, a case of the "bloat"
I think that the word has got around and the cichlids are all munching happily on their veggies.

In view of my good business with the local young fishermen I was presented with a free bonus today. A pretty Tortuga.

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October 16, 2009
9:34 am
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coelacanth
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Oct 16 2009, 06:24 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
In view of my good business with the local young fishermen I was presented with a free bonus today. A pretty Tortuga.

Sorry about the fish not making it.

With that little meat pie, be careful not to house it with any fish. I made that mistake when I was young housing one with my cichlids. One day I brought home a superb Keyhole Cichlid, carefully introduced it to my tank, 20 seconds later it was clamped across the belly by the jaws of the shelly beast.
It was in a tank of its own after that....

October 16, 2009
1:17 pm
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johnpeten
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By coincidence. the day before my crab made it's escape. I don't know how. as security was very tight. So the very pretty Turtle has it's own quarters.

With the turtle I also received amongst others four 3" melanurus. They were all put in my large holding tank and didn't notice what they were until I was ready for bed. I shone a flashlight in the tank and was amazed to see them with bright blue pelvic and anal fins and shimmering blue backs.
It looks like I am starting to see the adult colours. When they settle down I will post some more photos.
I am now getting the feeling that V. synspila and melanurus may be the same fish.
I also have a 3" Bay snook with the vacuum cleaner mouth.

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October 21, 2009
10:45 am
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Matt
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Those new ones are lovely John. It'll be interesting to see how all these different fishes look as adults.

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